Former vice president and chieftain of the All progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has warned on the consequence of quit notices by some ‘misguided youths’ of certain ethnic groups to other Nigerians resident in their regions. He said the country will lose in the event of another civil war.
Atiku advocated the entrenchment of “state of residence” in the Nigerian Constitution, in place of State of origin, as panacea to the spate of quit notices and hate comments across the country in recent times.
Only last week, a group from the Niger Delta region issued a quit notice to northerners and Yoruba living in the zone with October 1 as deadline. This was coming on the heels of the raging infamous quit notice issued by Arewa youths in July to Igbo living in the North.
Atiku, in the statement from his media office, said: “Again, it has sadly come to my attention that there has been a counter quit notice issued in reaction to the unfortunate initial notices issued by some misguided youths in July.
“Just as I strongly condemned the quit notice on people of the Igbo ethnic stock living in Northern Nigeria, and the counter quit notices that ensued, I also vehemently condemn the retaliatory quit notice given by certain elements in other parts of Nigeria to persons of other origins be they Northern, Yoruba or any other ethnic grouping within our nation.”
The former vice president called for less emphasis on the North and South dichotomy, stressing that as a nation, “we are all of Nigerian origin.”
“As Nigerians, we must be pragmatic enough to realise the obvious truth that an eye for an eye will leave Nigeria blind.
“Let me, at this juncture, remind these “quit noticers” that when brothers fight to the death over a domestic dispute, it is their neighbours that eventually end up inheriting their father’s property.
It is also for this reason, amongst others, that I have urged and still urge that Nigeria should be restructured, and that state of origin ought to be removed from our constitution and other relevant laws and policies, to be replaced by state of residency.”
He said if every Nigerian was tied to his or her residency, rather than the state where one’s ancestors originated from, the whole idea of quit notice would not have arisen in the first place.
“Let’s remember that although we have many ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, we are all largely of one race. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), foreigners exceed the natives in number, yet the UAE is one of the most peaceful nations on earth. If people of different races can live in peace in South Africa and the United States, why can’t we do the same here?In fact, I posit that we can and should do the same.
Atiku commended the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for taking steps to sanction radio stations that were guilty of playing the Igbo hate song and for embarking on an anti hate speech drive.
“Nigeria is our only country and our value as human beings is tied to the value of Nigeria. So if we must give ourselves value, we must first give Nigeria value.”